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Francis of Assisi

Eminent Biography: André Vauchez on Francis of Assisi

Last month, as it became clear that Cardinal Bergoglio would likely be elected Pope, his friend Brazilian Cardinal Claudio hugged him and gave him a message. “He said don’t forget about the poor,” Pope Francis explained at a Vatican press conference. “And that’s how in my heart came the name Francis of Assisi.” Francis of […]

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Livingstone

Eminent Biography: Tim Jeal on Dr. Livingstone

Read an excerpt from Livingstone on the London Yale Books Blog Read a piece by Tim Jeal for The Daily Beast Born March 19, 1813, David Livingstone became a living myth and national hero of Victorian Britain long before his death in present-day Zambia, having lost contact with the rest of the world for most of his last […]

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The Great Agnostic

The Great Agnostic and First American Male Feminist

Susan Jacoby, author of the new biography, The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought, here reflects on the significance of Ingersoll as a religious and philosophical thinker, considering women’s and human rights in nineteenth-century America and arguing that he was a man well ahead his times—more like twentieth-century feminists than his own contemporaries on the […]

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Delmira Agustini, Sexual Seduction, and Vampiric Conquest

To Conquer Man’s World: An Excerpt on Delmira Agustini

Continuing the discussion of Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini, author Cathy L. Jrade explores the rebellious side of this Spanish American poet as she attempted to operate in a man’s world in this excerpt from Delmira Agustini, Sexual Seduction, and Vampiric Conquest. For Agustini, the eroticism and overt sexuality of her verse place her at the center of feminine discourse […]

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Delmira Agustini, Sexual Seduction, and Vampiric Conquest

Eminent Biography: Cathy Jrade on Delmira Agustini

One day, oddly fainted on the ground, I fell asleep on the deep plush textures of this forest . . . I dreamed divine things! . . . A smile of yours woke me, it seems to me . . . and I do not feel my wings!. . . My wings? . . . […]

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Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance

Eminent Biography: Emily Bernard on Carl Van Vechten’s Women

In her second piece for “Eminent Biography” Emily Bernard, author of Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance: A Portrait in Black and White, explores the relationships of Carl Van Vechten and the many women who circled through his interracial and inter-artistic world of the Harlem Renaissance. After all, it is Women’s History Month, and counting […]

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Michelangelo jacket

Eminent Biography: Michael Hirst on Michelangelo

Born March 6, 1475 not far outside of Florence, Italy, Michelangelo di Ludovico Buonarroti Simoni seemed already to have the credentials to become the quintessential Renaissance Man. His hometown—Caprese—has since been renamed Caprese Michelangelo in honor of this most highly celebrated of artists.  Michelangelo’s early life, however, was notable for his father Lodovico’s financial troubles: […]

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Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance

Eminent Biography: Emily Bernard on Carl Van Vechten

The friendships that formed the conversations of the Harlem Renaissance and the complex ideas of the relationships between art and race were the vein of black literary life of the early twentieth century. As editor of the volume of letters, Remember Me to Harlem: The Correspondence of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, Emily Bernard […]

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Savonarola

Eminent Biography: Donald Weinstein on Savonarola

What does it mean to be a prophet? In his new biography Savonarola: The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Prophet, Donald Weinstein gives us one answer to this question, tracing the story of religious visionary Girolamo Savonarola from his early loss of faith in society to his later attempts to reform it. On Tuesday, […]

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Robespierre

Eminent Biography: Peter McPhee on Robespierre

Was Maximilien Robespierre (1758-94) a heroic martyr of the French Revolution, or a ruthless tyrant? In his new biography Robespierre: A Revolutionary Life, Peter McPhee combines new research and a deep understanding of the French Revolution to provide a fresh and nuanced portrait of one of history’s most controversial figures. Here the author discusses Robespierre, and explains the challenges in writing a “human” […]

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